How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training Program near Caribou Maine
Now that you have decided to become a part of the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Caribou ME, it’s time to choose a school that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are critical factors also. You might decide to research a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you should ask all of the colleges on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Job of a Medical Assistant
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as demanding. Essentially their job is to make sure that the Caribou ME hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. Some of the potential duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing basic support during examinations and procedures
Although medical assistants can perform almost any task they are authorized to under Maine law, some prefer to specialize in a specific area and attain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Education
Unlike most other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Caribou ME health care employers choose to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs typically take about 1 year to finish, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are developed to teach the basics of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to attain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs offered at junior and community colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant training. They frequently have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Online Medical Assistant Courses
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs accessible online as well. They are a good option for those who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more conventional on campus alternatives. Ancillary expenses including those for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be reduced also. But keep in mind that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can typically be completed in Caribou ME area healthcare facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a job after graduation, but it may also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Caribou ME medical employers just will not hire a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to sit for the CMA exam, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered as well, for instance the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Schools
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to determine which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are closest to Caribou ME with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional issues that you must examine when evaluating programs. To assist you with that process, following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make certain that the school you choose is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA examination. Also, if you plan on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Caribou ME employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the School’s Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you need to learn which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then obviously you will need to enroll in a program targeting that certification. Second, ask what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a school’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will want to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Available? As we covered earlier, there are essentially two paths to acquiring medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can decide to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will take about two years to accomplish in a community college or vocational school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, verify that the schools you are considering offer the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Provided? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Caribou ME area healthcare providers. They are an excellent means to receive hands-on clinical experience and training. They may also help students develop relationships within the Caribou healthcare community. And as an added benefit, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Provided? Landing that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they obtain some assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are researching provide job placement assistance in the Caribou ME area and ask what their placement rate is. If a school has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to furnish increased access to instructors and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to monitor a couple of classes before enrolling in a school to witness what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Convenient? If you plan on attending a medical assistant college while you continue to work full time, it’s important that the college you enroll in provides classes that accommodate your schedule. If you have to go to classes at night or on weekends near Caribou ME, confirm that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will still need to schedule any clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Caribou Maine?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Caribou ME area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Caribou is the second largest city in Aroostook County, Maine, United States. Its population was 8,189 at the 2010 census. The city is a service center for the agricultural and tourism industries, and the location of a National Weather Service Forecast Office.
Lumbermen and trappers first set up camps in the area in the 1810s. The first settlers came to what is now Caribou in the 1820s. Between 1838 and 1840, the undeclared Aroostook War flared between the United States and Canada, and the Battle of Caribou occurred in December 1838. The dispute over the international boundary delayed settlement of the area until after the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. With peace restored, European settlers arrived in gradually-increasing numbers beginning in 1843. From Eaton Plantation and part of half-township H, Caribou was incorporated in 1859 as the town of Lyndon on April 5. In 1869, it annexed Eaton, Sheridan and Forestville plantations. On February 26 of that year its name was changed to Caribou, only to revert to Lyndon on March 9. On February 8, 1877, Caribou was finally confirmed as the town's permanent name. Two enduring mysteries are the reason for the original name of Lyndon, and the reasons for the town's name being subsequently changed back and forth between Lyndon and Caribou. Caribou was the "jumping off" point for a large influx of settlers who immigrated directly from Sweden in 1870-1871, and settled the nearby "Swedish colony." The small town grew throughout the late 19th century, and with the coming of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad in the 1890s, agricultural exports exploded. This began a boom period which lasted well into the 1960s. Caribou became the largest potato shipping hub in the world, and had many related industries.
Nearby to the northeast, Loring Air Force Base opened in the early 1950s near Limestone, with bomber and tanker aircraft of the Strategic Air Command. It provided a major economic boost to the area, with construction starting in 1947 on "Limestone Army Air Field." Caribou was incorporated as a city in 1967 on February 23, but the area's boom period leveled off in the 1970s as a result of difficulties in its traditional potato industry. That, along with closure of the base in 1994, contributed to a decline in population in the 1980s and 1990s.
Pick the Ideal Medical Assistant Training Program Caribou ME
It’s imperative to begin your new career on the right foot by choosing a medical assistant school that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re objective is to launch a career in health care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, verify that the program you choose is accredited by an acknowledged agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Near Me. But regardless of the kind of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Caribou ME.
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